Pricey jet fuel and environmental problems ranging from severe storms to last week’s new eruption of volcanic ash over Europe have given airline stocks their share of fits and starts this year. After all, as major carriers like Delta (NYSE:DAL), United Continental (NYSE:UAL), AMR Corp.’s (NYSE:AMR) American Airlines, US Airways (NYSE:LLC) and Southwest (NYSE:LUV) can attest, higher costs are the bane of airlines’ existence.
But if the Federal Aviation Administration gets its way, airlines will face yet another headwind: the rising cost of air safety. In the biggest change to flight crew training requirements in 20 years, the FAA is proposing a new safety rule that would send pilots back to school. The plan, which will be out for comment until July 19, would require airlines to put their pilots through “real-world” emergency training scenarios in flight simulators.
In addition to this enhanced individual training, flight crews also would have to train together, learn to coordinate their actions tand fly scenarios based on actual events. The new rules would require remedial training for pilots who have failed proficiency checks or tests or whose performance has been unsatisfactory. Read